Divine Connections – 6 July 2009 (Chrisna)

As we travel the world, we see so many new and wonderful places, we meet so many new and wonderful people. No two places look the same, no two faces look the same. God surely is a God of diversity.

The Bible tells us: " Man is the crown of God's creation". Some one else once said: "A stranger is just a friend you do not know". Both of these statements we've experienced first hand during our travels. Sometimes we spent a few hours with some one, sometimes a few minutes. Sometimes we ate / drank coffee together, sometimes we only talked. Always it has been a blessing, always…

Many people (ourselves included) pray for us for divine connections. I always thought that this is people one meet with whom you will work/network/partner with in future . But I was wrong, it's not. Divine connections, which God so often give us, is so much more than that. It's people we meet who bless us in some way or another, people with whom we can share our life and learn about their life, people from whom we can learn something (big or small), people who give us a prophetic word or vice versa, people with whom we can share or laugh or feel content with for a while. All these people are divine connections , people we meet because of God's bigger plan and because He works with each one of us individually. People we meet of whom we think afterwards: "It was such a blessing meeting you."

I want to go down memory lane and mention a few of these special appointments. By doing this I want to remind myself of God's Love for us and thank every person in my heart once again.

Some of these divine connections were people like the nurse in Phuket hospital. God used Dawie's amputated finger to restore her faith in Him. Other blessed meetings were those with Theunis and Marlise and their friends in Singapore.

The pastor of City Harvest Church in Singapore, who managed to fit us into his busy schedule, Kong Hee. Gai and Joe, home exchange hosts in Australia, who not only spoiled us while we were there, but still had to forward Dawie J's forgotten Croccie on to us! Also Peter, Dawn and Laura , Ralph and Margaret who blessed us with the barn, a car and many special meals in New Zealand.

More divine connection in New Zeeland were Jaco and Mari and Greg at City Impact Church. Greg even sent us a DVD and a note to our Montana house - we appreciated it so much.

The Van Wyks , Enid and Vernon and 2 sons, were offcourse also a very precious connection – although not a new one, but confirming that we as family can pick up a sentence where we last stopped, hearts beating on the same rhythm. The divine thing of this connection, for me was that although we know each other so well, we could bless each other in new and fresh ways! There were more people, many where we were not even officially introduced, but they made an impact. Those are some of the Divine Connections in the East and Down under. God is faithful and full of Goodness and Mercy. We looked forward to each of the divine connections still to come and prayed that we will not miss any single opportunity to build into any other person's life and allow them the same in ours.

As I said, God is faithful. He knows exactly what (or who) we need, so He continued with many more divine appointments. In Los Angeles it was Donna, who helped us and we could pray for her on her birthday. We also met Mark and his friend at Saddleback church. They head up Saddleback's International Ministries.

Yet another very significant meeting was the one with Apostle Fred Price and his wife Betty, as well as their leadership team of Crenshaw Christian Centre. It was a privilege to thank them for the work that their ministry does in Namibia and offer to help with arrangements for their visit in 2010. Great people who not only preach on Faith, but live it. I must include our re-connection with Charlie in LA as a significant one as well. That made our family whole again. Praise God that the absence was only temporarily...

On the boat we obviously met many different crew members (they represent 57 countries), spent a few minutes together, but not significant time with any particular person.

The reason why I mention them in this "divine connection" category, is the impact they had on me in the way they do their job. They work long hours every day of the 7 day cruise, then they return to a small cabin, which they share with 3 others to sleep. When we are in a port, some of them can go on shore for a few hours. The boat returns to Seattle every Saturday Morning and sail out that same Saturday afternoon. On board is a new, fresh, eager group of tourists and the exact same crew. But they are so friendly and enthusiastic, the guests think that it must be the crew's 1st week on the job! They deliver Service with excellence and they continue to do it 7 days a week, 10 months of the year – non stop. No complaining or demonstrations, always friendly although no extra pay for longer hours. Why? "Because they are so grateful to have a job." " The salary is not that big, but it is something." And " if they want to keep it, they must produce!" We surely can learn from them...

And then there was Whitefish, Montana. Yes, a divine place God included in our tour, which naturally also produced divine connections : Ben and Virginia, our home exchange hosts who blessed us, the people at Four Square Gospel church who welcomed us into their family and the Ogles. Paul and Angelita Ogle, the Pastor and his wife was definitely part of God's Divine planning and we were blessed in so many more ways than receiving wonderful meals at their house. It remains a connection in my heart, because I regularly have the desire to pray God's blessings upon them and then I listen to my heart. We have family in Whitefish...

Interruption in my own thought - Something else, not on the topic of divine connections, but on the happenings in Whitefish: Thinking back on God's many blessings , I've realized that the money that we gave away in Montana, taking a big bite out of our budget, God has restored that back unto us 5 fold! Have I mentioned lately that we serve an awesome God?!)

Canada yet again was God's place for divine connections. It actually started in August '08 in Namibia, when our home exchange hosts visited us there and we could greet as friends on the Toronto airport. The abundance of their blessings stowed upon us, is much more than a detailed summary can explain. The "whole package" was just special, extra special. Brian, Judy, Oliver and Francis were a practical lesson of hospitality, generosity, blessing , working with excellence and precious family times, to us.

Now we are in Atlanta. Everyone knows already of the one Divine Appointment we had here so far. Boy oh boy, I wrote a whole blog on our time with Dr. Bruce Wilkinson! I don't have to write more now, but we continue to praise God for His Divine Surprises!

As I write, I am overwhelmed with God's Goodness and Kindness and the fact that His Glory really can shine through people. His plan is that we should love one another, then we can taste heaven on earth. That is surely what we have been tasting the past 6 months. Yes, I can see that man is the crown of God's Creation. May we be faithful, and honour that with our lives.

There is another divine connection that I appreciate very much. I always had, but have come to cherish it more and more. This one is a "permanent" connection of which I am part and so grateful for. It is my family.

We were always a close knit family and enjoyed spending life together. (Most probably a reason why we decided to take on a world tour!) But even so, I thought it would be a challenge to spend ALL our time together. I was wrong. Praise the Lord!! It is glorious to spend all this time together. Remember, it is

24hrs a day, 7 days a week, now already for 6 months. And it is getting better and better.

Some time ago I realized that I usually say: "I appreciate EVERYTHING about them so much", and that is not good enough. I must focus on each individually and be specific in what I adore and cherish and appreciate. I tell them continuously and specifically that nowadays, but I will still write it as well – another day.

For now, I treasure every divine connection so far and look forward to more to come, 'cause I know they are waiting on us. May we be ready and obedient.

Atlanta: My special day (Monday 6 July 2009) Charlie

Finally! It feels great to be starting a blog again!! I have been laying off them for the last two months because I only really started to feel like I'm back during the last week. The whole concept of the world tour is so surreal that it took me two months to totally realize again what was going on! I caught myself just standing in awe the whole time. Not only because of the beauty of God's creation everywhere but also because of the hope of good people and friendliness that still prevails. Yes, these last two months I've seen so much of God's character in other people that I have hope for this world.

Being on my feet again after floating off a bit I want to look back at the previous two months and take you with me on the road of beautiful emotion and awe.

I will start with my special day in Atlanta, it being my freshest memory, but in my following blogs I will backtrack and reflect on the rest of Atlanta, Toronto and Montana as well.

There are certain moments in life that you will regret because no one is perfect. Then there are other that are nice but are quickly forgotten and then there are moments that changes the course of your life forever and not only inspires you, but also influences your decisions for the rest of your life!

This world tour thus far is filled with such moments of utter joy and fulfillment that only God can give, but the past week in Atlanta certainly changed my life forever.

The most amazing part is that all that happened to me here in Atlanta can not just be defined by one moment but consists of my whole past and my plans for the future! You might ask, what has Charlie seen this time or what natural wonder is next? But the great thing about it is that is wasn't something from the world or of this world that captured me, but it was a decision to be a part of the One who is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Yes, for the first time I have decided on my own out of obedience that I want to surrender my whole life and give everything to my Lord and Saviour! I realized that everything that matters here on earth is everything that was done for God's Kingdom. God's Kingdom is not part of the world we currently live in, but we can do everything we do for the Kingdom of God, if He Himself lives in us and through us. This decision was not taken here only, but was a process where I came to know God. You might ask again, but Charlie haven't you already given your heart to the Lord and my answer would be yes!, but I was always trained that way by my parents and it was out of their obedience that they raised me that way, not out of my own heart and mind. Thus I made the decision on my own not only to give my heart to the Lord but to die in myself and let Him live through me. Yes, on the 30th of June 2009 I got baptized!

Now that you know that happened I can elaborate more. The thing is God's Word has been secretly nudging me and nudging me whenever I read it, but I didn't see a time or a place until my family told me that we were going to visit Bruce Wilkinson in Atlanta. The Lord then secretly nudged me again and kind of told me that this was the right time. I thought about it a lot since that day but then I forgot about it when the tour started. In Canada however the Lord reminded me again of this date and place and I began digging deeper again. Still being unsure if I was ready for it. I prayed and thought it through a lot and knew that this was what God wanted me to do. I also realized that there are a few factors that have to fall in place for this to be possible. So I prayed to God and handed it to Him, if all factors fall in place and it is possible I will be obedient and get baptized.

So it happened that we contacted Dr Bruce and asked where we would meet. He then replied that he now lived in South Carolina but will be able to come to us on the 30th of June. We didn't want to be a burden so we offered to drive to him but again he insisted that he should come to us. Excited by this I knew the first step was in place. It was only afterwards that I learned that He just finished with a big project on the 29th and started with another project the 1st of July in Atlanta! So the date in between was perfect!!! The next step was to get some kind of pool or large enough body of water. So we started looking on Google Earth for a pool close to our house. We found one a few blocks away, went to the house and knocked on the door. What happened next was interesting. A woman opened the door and greeted us. We then boldly asked if we could by any chance use her pool for a baptism. She then started laughing and said that this was hilarious. We asked why she thought so and she said that she didn't believe in God and now there is going to be a baptism in her pool, but somehow she just can't say no!!! Thus I saw God's image even in a non-believer.

Everything for the baptism was set. The baptist, the pool and my heart. Now we just awaited Dr Bruce's arrival. Little did we know then how special this visit was going to be.

He arrived just after 12 pm as arranged and greeted us with hugs and "my you've grown since I last saw you"! We just sat there as a family listening to each others stories and learning from each other. He gave my father amazing insight on the African Leadership Institute and I just sat there listening to the truth. We also laughed and discussed more casual things like the world tour (My father's finger- always the favorite) and enjoyed each other.

We ate an amazing lunch and still discussed certain things and talked about them. The afternoon was filled with the same laughter but also very serious discussions. The time then came for me to get baptized... I had a quick, meaningful discussion with Dr Bruce alone and he agreed, it was time.

As we drove to the house with the pool we would be using a surge of emotions began to bubble inside me and I knew this was what God wanted. I began to get very excited knowing that God wants to work through me.

We got to the house and again got a meaningful greeting from our host, again saying that such a request she just couldn't deny. We got in the water (luckily Atlanta is nice and warm) prayed together and before I knew it I left my old self in the water and began a new life through Christ.
I was overwhelmed and just stood there crying while the others were praying. The moment had past but the joy of serving the Lord had just began!

Me and Dr Bruce got towels and dried off the water. While we were busy leaving, he said that as the guy who baptized me he has the privilege to ask a favour. All of us agreed and he asked us just to come with him. So we went to put on some dry clothes and we were off, where to we didn't know. He then asked us if we could guess what we were going to do, giving us a few clues and making it a riddle. One of the things we discussed earlier that day was that we walk so much, there is nothing left of our shoes (laughing). At last with all information gained I sheepishly guessed that we were headed to the mall and that he was going to buy us new shoes. It was more a hope than a guess but he said yes and immediately we didn't know what to feel inside.

He took us to a Footlocker and said we may get shoes on one condition, we may not look at the price. This was difficult for us all especially my mom. At the end we all got shoes from heaven and we didn't know how to thank him. This new day just got better and better.

He then took us to eat dinner and just took the blessing on and on. Whenever we wanted to thank him, he just said that it was his joy to give out the Lord's blessings. The largest blessing of it all was still to come: He gave my dad 10 000 books for the African Leadership Institute and "The Namibian Dream".

Ultimately the Lord blessed me with a wonderful day and I thank him and stand in awe of him. I also know now I have an even larger responsibility to live His character. Although it won't be easy I'm looking forward to it:

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Very early Sunday morning (5 July) Tinus

I honestly cannot recall exactly how many movies I've watched on this world tour. So many stories, so many characters, so many endings, so many lessons and so many beginnings. Yet, as I sit here, I cannot think of one decent way to start this post! Hence, the totally random approach I have adopted.

Please do forgive me if this seems slightly unintellectual, for it is nearly one in the morning and there is no coffee nearby, so I might just be blabbering a little. But, sleep eluded me the twenty or so minutes I've been in bed, so I decided I'll tick something off my To-Do-list for a change.

At this point, I might as well be honest: I haven’t really been able to get much done lately. Those Goal-lists my mother wrote about – the ones we draw up as a family each time we come to a new place – well, I usually have more than a couple of unticked boxes. At least one accomplishment I have to be proud of...

…I am resting well! And enjoying it thoroughly!

Back to business, but before I get serious I simply must comment on this introduction. Besides it being absolutely inappropriate and not being quite as smart as it sounded when I went over it in my head, at least it got me out of bed and actually working. (And what hard work it is!)

But, there is a time for everything, Solomon said. And now it is time for me to get to that which fills my thoughts. I know I am actually still busy with my account on our Alaskan Cruise, but please do bear with me (I will still finish it someday…) as I really must get something off my chest straight away.

Way back, when we were in California, I started sharing some of the things the Tour has Taught me. I touched on my London and France lessons on Don’t file a suit and Use the right sense. From Switzerland I learned something about the moment and thinking about it just now I realize how seldom I live in it! Now, this might come as a shock (and if it doesn’t, perhaps you need to do some self-evaluation) that while I am on the journey of a lifetime, I should neglect enjoying each moment of it. In my defense, let me just assert that I indeed do enjoy every moment. But – and here the gears in my head started turning – I often enjoy it (and realize I must enjoy it) so much that I try to attach some sort of worth, some sort of value to it in such a way that I should remember it with the appreciation it deserves. I enjoy the present, but while I do so I make sure that in the future, when this present is past, I shall enjoy it still. Am I making any sense? If not, I blame it on the clock!

So, the moment and making the very best out of it. Making it last for eternity, yet making it count now! This is sort of what I was confronted with in Switzerland. Oh, had I given it enough thought and action then, how much more would I have enjoyed this tour (if that indeed is possible!) And how much more would I have accomplished if I had taken the Germany lesson Do it, do it right, do it now to heart. I have however, been applying Singapore's slogan "Apply your mind" quite thoroughly and have reaped great benefits.

About the past, however, little can be done but to learn from it. And now in the present, I want to. (I almost decide to call it a night just now, but then thought of Germany…)

Jesus basically told us in Mathew 7:24 to build our house on the rock. Do you know what that rock is we should build on?

**If I didn’t want to get my parents approval on this blog before I posted it, which will only happen tomorrow, this would have been a great place to call it a night and tell you to go read the verses . Then I could have posted what I've written thus far, go to bed and continue when the sun is shining. It's Sunday morning, by the way and I will finish the a large part of this post later, but I can’t sleep just yet…**

The rock we should build on – the one on which the foundations of our lives must be build or else we'll collapse when life hits us…collapse into a heap of pain – that rock is, believe it or not, not Jesus Christ! The rock is the Words of Christ! Building on the rock is thus not merely believing in Jesus, but putting what He has taught us into practice! Get it?!

I just disobeyed a solid rule in literature in using so many exclamation mark right after one another, but I need to make this point. To myself more than anyone else. It doesn’t matter how much you know or how many verses you can quote or what you've learned where. What keeps your life from falling apart is practicing these truths! I want to build on the rock! I want to Use the right sense. I want to ensure I Don’t file a Suit. I want to Live the Moment right. I want to do what must be done…I want to Do it, do it right, do it now!

And for me the best way to Apply my mind toward those truths I have learned so that it can become part of my actions(Rom 12:1), is to write one them.

I will thus in the very near future, continue my string of post regarding what I've Learned on this world tour and now you know what to expect.

I think I have just about written what was required of me in these small hours of the morning and will post this all when the family wakes up. One last thing, however, I must still say (or write).

When I started this post I knew I needed to start typing, but what exactly I wanted to say, I knew not (this then the reason for the unusual intro). Now I feel at peace and can taste the Lords tangible presence.

Thank You, Lord for drawing near to us when we draw near to You. Thank You for doing Your part when we are obedient!

It was as I typed that the Lord reminded me that I need to build on the rock. Just to let you in on His Glory, Grace and Humor… (He's laughing at…with me at the moment), I must tell you of the place we visited on Friday. On second thought, let me just show you…

Glory to God! And remember: build on the rock!

P.S. Remember to read my mom's Atlanta post...